(March 22, 2016): Today’s federal budget is a significant step in closing the gap in the quality of life between First Nations peoples and Canadians and beginning the process of reconciliation, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde says.
“The budget begins to address decades of underfunding and neglect, which have perpetuated a growing gap in the quality of life between First Nations and other Canadians,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “This budget invests in important priorities for First Nations and all Canadians. Investments in housing, clean water, education, and child welfare will bring long-needed relief for those living in third world conditions, and build a stronger economy for everyone.”
The 2016 federal budget unveiled today is an historic $8.4 billion over 5 years in investments in Indigenous issues. It has committed to eliminate the 2% cap. It also allocates investments in First Nations Education; Infrastructure and Housing; Green Infrastructure on Reserve and clean drinking Water; First Nations child and family services; Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy; Aboriginal Languages Initiative; Health; Justice; Fishing and Environment. The federal budget also commits to engage with First Nations on a new long-term fiscal relationship.
“Creating the conditions for First Nations peoples to succeed, whether they live in the north, on reserve or in urban areas, is the best economic stimulus plan for Canada,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “It will add billions to the economy and save billions more in social costs while creating a stronger, more just and prosperous country for us all.”
AFN National Chief Bellegarde will hold a press conference tomorrow, March 23, at 11 a.m. ET at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa to comment further on today’s federal budget.